- Published on 05 February 2014
Albert Einstein accepted the modern cosmological view that the universe is expanding, only long after several of his contemporaries had demonstrated it with astrophysical observations
Until 1931, physicist Albert Einstein believed that the universe was static. An urban legend attributes this change of perspective to when American astronomer Edwin Hubble showed Einstein his observations of redshift in the light emitted by far away nebulae—today known as galaxies. But the reality is more complex. The change in Einstein’s viewpoint, in fact, resulted from a tortuous thought process. Now, in an article published in EPJ H, Harry Nussbaumer from the Institute of Astronomy at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, explains how Einstein changed his mind following many encounters with some of the most influential astrophysicists of his generation.
- Published on 23 April 2013
Earlier this year Francesco Guerra, who had been a member of the editorial board of EPJ H - Historical Perspectives on Contemporary Physics since its launch in 2010, joined Wolf Beiglböck in managing the journal.
Prof. Francesco Guerra, a graduate from the University of Naples, is full professor of theoretical physics at the University of Rome 'La Sapienza'. He has served on many national academic evaluation committees and is currently a member of the Physics Panel of the National Agency for the Evaluation of Universities and Research.
His scientific interests include quantum field theory and elementary particles, stochastic methods in quantum mechanics, stochastic variational principles, statistical mechanics of spin glasses and complex systems, and the history of modern physics (in particular nuclear physics). In 2008, he was the recipient of the Italian Physical Society’s Prize for History of Physics.
- Published on 04 February 2013
A new study reveals the contribution of a little known Austrian physicist, Friedrich Hasenöhrl, to uncovering a precursor to Einstein famous equation
An American physicist outlines the role played by Austrian physicist Friedrich Hasenöhrl in establishing the proportionality between the energy (E) of a quantity of matter with its mass (m) in a cavity filled with radiation. In a paper just published in EPJ H, Stephen Boughn from Haverford College in Pensylvannia argues how Hasenöhrl’s work, for which he now receives little credit, may have contributed to the famous equation E=mc2.
- Published on 04 April 2011
The work behind the discovery of cosmic rays, a milestone in science, involved many scientists in Europe and the New World fascinated by the puzzling penetrating radiation, and took place during a period characterized by lack of communication and by nationalism caused primarily by World War I. It took eventually from the turn of the century until 1926 before the extraterrestrial nature of the penetrating radiation was generally accepted.
- Published on 01 November 2010
There is a divide, in quantum statistical physics, between the "ensemblists" who regard thermal equilibrium as a property of an ensemble (or a mixed state) and the "individualists" who regard thermal equilibrium as a property of an individual system (in a pure state). A long forgotten concept of equilibrium put forward by John von Neumann in 1929 is reanalyzed and shown to be influenced by both approaches, yet to be mainly based on the individualist view - a view that has gained ground recently.